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“and I don’t even know you yet.”

Last night, I sat down to write “A Letter to My 2020 Self.” This was my final goal of January, and I officially completed every goal I set for myself for the month. I thought about sharing this letter in a blog, but it ended up affecting me so deeply and personally that I’d rather just stick it away in a folder of my computer for a snowy January day next year.

via @raniban on instagram

However, I will share the sentence I wrote to close the letter:

I love you, Alexandra Grace of 2020, and I don’t even know you yet.

And that’s when it hit me.

I didn’t even know this version of myself one year ago. Looking back, I think the ‘love’ I had for myself was nearly completely defined by how others perceived me, loved me, viewed me, enjoyed being around me, or other standards. For much of that time and the months that followed, I was happy but simply going through a lot of the motions of life. In the pit of my stomach, I still felt not good enough. I felt like nothing I did was amounting to anything, a restless stream of busyness and lack of accomplishment. I had severe burnout and experienced intense heartbreak. I was in an extremely dark place, and I fought tooth and nail and crawled out of that dark place inch by inch by inch. That army crawl toughened me up like a soldier heading into battle to fight for my life and the version of myself I wanted to be.

Today, I can honestly say I love who I am becoming. I still struggle as much as the next person. I procrastinate. I’m always late. I find it hard to socialize, yet I hate being alone. I feel my emotions perhaps too deeply. I overcommit and fail at tasks. I even did my fair share of crying as I wrote a letter to myself… prophesying and praying that when I look back on this year I’m overwhelmed with pride and joy. Despite my struggles and everyday downfalls, I have worked really hard to get where I am. I’m nowhere near the top of the mountain, but damn the view gets better the further I go. There is no quick fix, no diet, no podcast, no workout, no face mask, no self-help novel that will give you all the answers. My answers for how I’m striving for better will not match yours. That’s okay. We’re all different. Find what makes you feel more alive, like a breath of fresh air has been breathed into you. As for me, I’m living life for me by saying goodbye to things that no longer serve me, devoting time to develop healthy habits, and listening to a whole lot of worship music…. and I guess I’m writing letters to myself, too.

If how I’ve felt lately is a trajectory path for the upcoming year, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I don’t know my 2020 self, but so far my 2019 self is the best version of myself that I’ve been in a long time.

I encourage you to write a letter to yourself. Maybe it’s just for next week, maybe it’s for a certain month, maybe it’s a year or 5. Write to yourself. Proclaim your hopes and dreams for yourself. For me, it was a written prayer and vision board and journal entry all at once, and it was absolutely cathartic.

always,

Alex

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see brave, be brave.

I saw a photo yesterday on Instagram. I had to hunt awhile today to find it again because I wanted to make sure to share the words correctly. The author, @mariandrew, captioned this photo “counterintuitive life hacks.” It’s basically action to take if you feel something negative in your life. I didn’t really think much of this graphic until later in my day I realized how relevant it could be in my life.

by @mariandrew on Instagram.

Of course, the last on the list hit me the hardest.

Now, let’s rewind to Friday evening. I was snuggled in my bed around 9:30 p.m. (attempting to get more sleep whenever possible!) and I was completing my nightly routine I’ve had in place since the new year. Brush my teeth, skincare routine, read my book, write 1 thing I am grateful for in my gratitude journal, and then do my new devotional, “100 Days to Brave” by Annie F. Downs followed by prayer. This devo is absolutely perfect for me as I selected ‘fearless’ as my word of the year for 2019. I’m laying down, reading the devotional allocated for Day 4 and the words really resonated with me.

This devo entry asked us to examine our own lives and the lives of people around us to examine the ways in which we exhibit bravery. It asked the question, “When we see brave out in the world, it inspires us, doesn’t it?” and stated, “I think when you hear other stories, they will sound like your story, and you will realize you are braver than you give yourself credit for.”

The action step: When you see brave, say so. 

I found myself pondering this and thinking about my word… fearless. I sat there reminding myself to take action, to be an encourager, to say speak out when I see someone being brave. This is what I’m being called to do, despite fear or insecurity. Okay, God, I see you. I’ll try, I guess.

So the title of this blog is “See Brave, Be Brave” but there’s also a little step that falls between those… say brave.

Last night, I wasn’t in a good mental headspace. We’re all allowed to have those days. Days where even though life is good, we are sad or frustrated or upset or <insertemotionhere.> I was just feeling kind of internally yucky for no reason. I tried not to think much of it and put it behind me as I was getting ready to go out with a couple of friends…

While I was putting on my makeup, I saw a friend of mine had posted that she was out with a gal pal after she had gone through a breakup. Without thinking, I replied and offered some encouragement, “tell her she’s a queen and will bounce back better. she has girls everywhere who have been there and are still currently there who metaphorically have her back.” because, duh. she does. I remember exactly how she feels.

If you’ve ever been there, sister, you remember exactly how it feels to go out the first time after a breakup. You’re already emotionally drained but hoping extroversion with close friends will somehow fill your empty cup or make you forget about the shizzzzstorm of your life. You smile because you’re so thankful for your friends but inside you’re still hurting. It’s a hard night. You scan every bar for their face and familiar places remind you of memories you’d rather store away in the far-off portion of your brain. I get it. I just wanted this girl to know that she isn’t alone and that I understand that she is being so freaking brave.

This message I sent lead to a short, soul-filling conversation between myself and a group of gals in a different city. They fed love right back into me. They made me smile. They reminded me who I am. They reminded me just a small piece of my purpose. I ended the interaction with a smile on my face and a rejuvenated sense of self after an evening where my mental headspace was far from positive.

This is when I remembered the graphic above… “when you feel unloved, give love.” As I sit here now, tears well up in my eyes. By giving love in that moment, these girls filled the part of my heart that had been hurting. This interaction exemplified the words that had been spoken into my heart by my devotional.

That girl was being brave. I said so. They filled me with love. They reminded me that I, too, am brave.

So I hope that as you read this today you can think of one person in your life who has been brave lately; someone who may need some love poured into them; someone who has been chasing a dream; someone who has been battling a demon. See brave, say brave, be brave. Be inspired by the people around you, because I’m sure when you look close enough they are doing some truly fantastic things. I’m sure you are too.

always,

Alex